In case you missed it, Bob Woodward has gotten into a war of words with the White House and, as far as I can tell, it’s not going all that well for him. So why on earth he chose to appear on the Hannity show last night suggests he cares a lot more about – well, I’m not sure what, exactly, but whatever it is it ain’t journalism or integrity. Among other indicators that this once venerable reporter has gone off the rails: his claim that he never said he was threatened by the White House (after being ridiculed for having implied exactly that), going on to imply that he had in fact been threatened and, worst of all, cozying up to Hannity’s contention that President Obama had not been properly vetted by the press (including his association with Bill Ayers) even though Woodward had previously smacked down the same Hannity assertion on his show right after Obama’s re-election.
From Think Progress:
Over the weekend Woodward claimed that the White House was trying “to move the goalposts” by replacing sequestration with a deficit reduction package that includes new revenues, a notion (National Economic Council director Gene) Sperling disputed in emails with the famed Watergate journalist. “I do truly believe you should rethink your comment about saying saying that Potus asking for revenues is moving the goal post,” Sperling wrote to Woodward. “I know you may not believe this, but as a friend, I think you will regret staking out that claim.”
As John Amato at Crooks and Liars noted, “That was the talk of the day all day Thursday, but after Politico published the email exchange Bob became a laughingstock.” That’s because the email exchange between Sperling and Woodward couldn’t have sounded more collegial. Sperling apologized for raising his voice, reiterated his argument, and asked Woodward to reconsider, saying “I know you may not believe this, but as a friend, I think you will regret staking out that claim.”
Even worse for Woodward’s argument, he wrote back,
Gene: You do not ever have to apologize to me. You get wound up because you are making your points and you believe them. This is all part of a serious discussion. I for one welcome a little heat; there should more given the importance. I also welcome your personal advice. I am listening. I know you lived all this. My partial advantage is that I talked extensively with all involved. I am traveling and will try to reach you after 3 pm today. Best, Bob
In a must-read piece on Gawker detailing Woodward’s hypocrisy on the subject of intimidating reporters and his lack of credibility in general, John Cook wrote:
The baldness of Woodward’s lie made it impossible for even the most wetbrained conservative partisans couldn’t stand by him. Hot Air, the stomping ground of Michele Malkin (sic), allowed that “it’s a threat so veiled I can’t see it.” The Daily Caller’s Matt Lewis wrote that Woodward “played” conservative media. The Washington Examiner’s Byron York agreed that it “wasn’t close to a threat.”
Still, you’d think Woodward could have come up with a better rehab venue than a show like Hannity – which is the antithesis of everything Woodward is supposed to be about. And then pretend – or be fooled by the pretense – that they were both vehicles for media truth but only taking different avenues.
In Part 1, of the two-part interview with Hannity, Hannity and Woodward mostly rehashed the “it was a threat” point that was obviously Hannity’s (and probably Woodward’s) main goal.
Hannity, however, tried to push Woodward to go further. “Do you think the president lied?” he asked.
Woodward brushed that aside. “Look, I’m not gonna use words like that,” he said. “I think we need to tune down the rhetoric here.” Really? Then why go on a show like Hannity, where tuning up the rhetoric is the main goal? Furthermore, there's good evidence that it was Woodward himself who ratcheted up the rhetoric on this particular contretemps in the first place.
In Part 2, Woodward and Hannity discussed the media. Woodward defended himself to those who have criticized him for appearing on Hannity:
I say, now wait a minute. You let me say what I want, you dig into things, there is no bleep out button and I believe in the First Amendment. …It’s my view, I suspect it’s not yours or Roger Ailes. We’ve got to bring this back to the center so we have a reasoned discussion as much as possible.
I'm all for going "back to the center" to dialogue, but giving Hannity the credibility of presenting “reasoned discussion” without noting the kind of spuriousness that is his stock and trade is not exactly promoting the cause Woodward was espousing.
In fact, Woodward gave Hannity and Fox more cred in the following exchange:
HANNITY: The fact that the president was never asked a lot about the 6 trillion in debt that he accumulated prior to this election, in this first election wasn’t asked about his association with Bill Ayers was troublesome to me, I think we’ve got a media that is not as critical as perhaps it once was in the days of, for example, Watergate.
WOODWARD: Well, I agree with that. We need to be very aggressive and it’s one of the judges that said democracies die in darkness and I really think that’s true.
In my opinion, Woodward was agreeing with Hannity’s overall point about the media not being as critical as in the Watergate days (i.e. reporters nowadays are not Woodward and Bernstein enough!) more than his desire for an investigation into Bill Ayers in particular. But Hannity’s very mention of the phony-baloney, manufactured controversy over Obama’s (non) relationship with Bill Ayers in the same breath as “Watergate” should have been a red flag to Woodward. The fact that he let it go and let it go as part of an overall agreement about the role of the press is not only very telling but very sad.
“Is Woodward under financial duress to the point where he’ll do whatever it takes to promote his book?”
Here’s my answer to Kelstar’s question: Is the Pope Catholic?
Don’t forget Kelstar: back in the summer of 2004, Ralph Nader (yes, I’m talking about the SAME Ralph Nader who was once a well-known advocate for the common working class folks and who helped Dumbya Bush steal the 2000 presidential election) SOLD OUT BIG TIME to Herr Goebbels II (i.e. Rupert Murdoch) when he appeared on Faux Spews Channel to promote his book “The Good Fight”. Remember: Murdoch OWNS HarperCollins, the publisher of this book. Ergo, you can bet the house that Herr Goebbels II probably shelled out A HUGE SEVEN FIGURE ADVANCE to Nader.
I honestly can’t tell if labman is being sarcastic, or if he’s a Fox Defender. That is not a joke… I honestly can’t sort them out anymore.
Also, at the beginning of the talk about this, Woodward was trying to distance himself from the narrative- It was the result of partisans like Fox News.
But Hannity got more forceful with each turn until Woodward got on board. You can actually make progress marks on each stage of him going from semi-accountable to a flat out lying, hyper-partisan sack of shit.
I guess Sean just has that effect on people.
AAAAAAARRRRRRGGGHHHH!!!! The mental picture!!!
Must. Bleach. Brain.
Both have seen their best days…and are in a panic.